Williams sisters add another chapter to great sibling rivalry

Posted On Sep 19 2020 by

first_imgBy Ian Ransom MELBOURNE, Australia (Reuters) – An Australian Open, electrified by the revivals of seasoned champions, will bathe in the warm glow of nostalgia today when the Williams sisters contest the women’s final at Rod Laver Arena.Melbourne Park was where Venus and Serena Williams first clashed in a tour match in 1998 and nearly 20 years on, the Americans will add another chapter to tennis’s greatest sibling rivalry.In 1998, they were teenagers with cornrows and coloured beads in their hair sharing in an awkward second-round encounter that 17-year-old Venus won in two sets.Venus hugged her sister, younger by a year, at the net and apologised for having to “take (her) out”.Today, 35-year-old Serena will bid for a record 23rd grand slam title in the professional era while Venus will strive for her eighth, and first in almost nine years.Serena drew level with Germany’s Steffi Graff on 22 when she claimed her seventh Wimbledon title last year but her crowning moment was delayed when, as top seed, she was upset in the U.S. Open semi-finals by Czech Karolina Pliskova.Serena no longer cares to talk about the record and stiffened when asked about it after her semi-final victory over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, as if the weight of such an achievement might prove too heavy.But a seventh title at Melbourne Park would add further credit to Serena’s claim as the greatest of all-time, despite being one short of Australia’s Margaret Court, whose 24 major titles were split between the amateur and professional eras.For 13th seed Venus, her first grand slam final in eight years is already a stunning victory of perseverance in the face of her struggles to manage Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.Both players stormed into the semi-finals without a set dropped.However, where Serena romped into the final with a 50-minute demolition of Lucic-Baroni, Venus needed to summon her peerless experience to fend off feisty fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in three sets.Today’s final will be the Williams sisters ninth at a grand slam and their first since Wimbledon in 2009, where Serena won in two sets.RIVALRY SHAPED GAMEAs tempting as it may be, to see the Melbourne Park decider as a last flickering of a rivalry that shaped the women’s game for a decade may be premature.Eras have come and gone but Serena has never left the stage, winning nine grand slam titles since turning 30.Venus spent four years in the wilderness from 2011-14, a period in which she was unable to surpass a fourth round at any of the majors.But since a drought-breaking quarter-final at the 2015 Australian Open, Venus has risen again.It took her sister to end her run at Wimbledon in the fourth round that year and again at the U.S. Open in the quarter-finals a few months later.Her semi-final run at Wimbledon last year was further evidence that Venus still has the hunger and the game to trouble the best.“I think people realise this is an amazing job, so it’s best to keep it,” she said of her longevity.Whether she can still beat the best will be decided today, where she will bid for her first Australian Open title, 14 years after her only other final at Melbourne Park ended in a three-set loss to her sister.Serena, who holds a 16-11 winning record over Venus over their careers and leads 6-2 in the grand slam finals, is favourite to win but knows better than to underestimate her sister’s competitive spirit.“She’s my toughest opponent — nobody has ever beaten me as much as Venus has,” she said.“This is a story. This is something that I couldn’t write a better ending. This is a great opportunity for us to start our new beginning.”last_img read more


Despite early game slump, Syracuse offense shoots itself to win

Posted On Sep 17 2020 by

first_img Entering the game against the Blackbirds, SU was shooting just 25.5 percent from beyond the arc. But Monday night, with its leading scorer Alexander playing just four minutes in the first half, five different players knocked down 3s as the Orange put on a shooting show. Long Island called a timeout after Morrow’s second three to try to cool off SU’s shooters, but it was to no avail. Senior guard Tasha Harris eventually got into the mix, hitting two back-to-back 3’s of her own late in the half to extend the Orange lead. By halftime, Syracuse turned a 1-for-10 performance into a 45-18 laugher. But head coach Quentin Hillsman said that even in a stretch like that, Syracuse simply has to keep shooting. Published on November 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm ‘(Assistant) coach (Rick) Moody always tells me to keep shooting,’ said Tyson-Thomas, who matched Morrow’s team-leading 16 points. ‘Just shoot out of it. That’s the best thing you can do as a shooter is shoot out of the slump.’ ‘They were going underneath every screen,’ Hillsman said. ‘So she was really able to come off and get her feet together and shoot the ball. They went under every screen that we set so she got some pretty good looks at the basket.’ ‘We shoot every single play every day so we know there’s going to be different stretches where we might not make any baskets,’ said senior guard Erica Morrow, who led the team with 16 points. ‘We stuck to our scheme, and we just got through it.’ After Iasia Hemingway scored the first bucket of the game on a fastbreak lay-up, the Orange missed nine-straight shots. Seven minutes in, SU managed just six points. Comments Morrow said the back-to-back 3’s for Tyson-Thomas got the team going and she extended the run shortly after. After a Troya Berry steal, Morrow hit a transition three from the right corner. The next possession, she knocked down a shot from behind the arc with Blackbird guard Krystal Wells in her face, giving the Orange a 20-9 lead.center_img But instead of relying on second-chances, SU started capitalizing on its first opportunities. Tyson-Thomas, who missed her first four shots, hit a quick three after a Blackbird turnover to put SU up 9-7 with 12:16 left in the first half. On the next Orange possession, Morrow dished the ball to the sophomore in the corner where she drained her second three in a row. While the Orange stifled Long Island on the defensive end, its offense could not muster up any scoring. Leading scorer Kayla Alexander picked up two early fouls and was relegated to the bench. With her out, Syracuse struggled to find rebounds for second-chance points, something it has thrived on through its first two games. The Orange (3-0) did exactly what its coach said, shooting its way out of the slump and into a 90-36 romp over the Blackbirds (2-1). Sparked by Carmen Tyson-Thomas’ back-to-back 3’s eight minutes into the game that ended the scoring drought, SU went on to shoot 63 percent from the field for the rest of the half. It hit eight 3-pointers in the first and finished shooting 45.6 percent from beyond the arc in the game. The Syracuse women’s basketball team opened its game against Long Island in a slump. ‘They have to,’ he said. ‘They can’t pass up shots. They’ve got to take open shots. We can’t get to a point where we’re gun-shy, and we stop shooting.’ ‘We just focus on taking good (shots),’ Hillsman said. ‘I thought they took good ones. As long as we have the right people taking good shots, then I think we have a good shot at making them.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more